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$500 Million Treasure of the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes Returning Soon to Spain

Within the next day or so, two Spanish Air Force C-130 transport planes will land at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base to load 17 tons of gold and silver coins and other artifacts recovered from the wreck of the Spanish Navy’s Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes by Odyssey Marine.  The 594,000 coins and other artifacts are valued at $500 million.

In 1804, the British Royal Navy attacked a Spanish treasure fleet off Cape Santa Maria, Portugal, seizing  £900,000 (equivalent to £62,923,000, or $98,638,000 today) in gold and silver.  As the countries were not at war, Spain called the attack piracy, while the British justified as a “necessity of war.”

In 2007, Odyssey Marine salvaged 594,000 gold and silver coins from the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, which exploded and sank during the battle in 1804. As the ship was a naval vessel, the Spanish sued Odyssey, demanding return of the treasure.  After a five year legal battle, the Spanish have won. The coins and artifacts will finally make it to port after 208 years.  The Battle of Cape Santa Maria is finally over.    Thanks to Phil Leon for passing along the news.